The Chinese research vessel and icebreaker Xue Long broke free from ice and was back in the open waters off Antarctica on Tuesday. Zhang Jiansong /Xinhua/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Zhang Jiansong /Xinhua/Landov

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star, seen here in 1999, has been sent to help free Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which are gripped by Antarctic ice. U.S. Coast Guard Handout Photo/Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption U.S. Coast Guard Handout Photo/Reuters /Landov

There's ice as far as the eye can see from the deck of the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which is stuck in the Antarctic. The captain says he and his crew can wait for conditions to improve. Zhang Jiansong /Xinhua /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Zhang Jiansong /Xinhua /Landov